Drama - Completed 2019

Jerzy Kosinski, The Painted Bird © 1965, Houghton Mifflin, New York
Rights been obtained, April 2010, “Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning & Leadership”, Chicago, Illinois, USA
A dark masterpiece and harrowing story that follows the wanderings of a boy abandoned by his parents during World War II.

& Awards

ScripTeast 2013
PFM 2014
    • Year of production
    • 2019
    • Genres
    • Drama, Historical
    • Countries
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 5 - 10 M$
    • Duration
    • 169 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Václav MARHOUL
    • Writer(s)
    • Václav MARHOUL
    • Producer(s)
    • Václav MARHOUL (Silver Screen), Igor SAVYCHENKO (Directory Films), Zuzana MISTRÍKOVÁ (PubRes)
    • Synopsis
    • The title "The Painted Bird" is based on the once much-loved village custom in Eastern Europe, where people caught strong and healthy birds and painted their feathers with the most vibrant colours. They then released the painted bird back to nature. The flock, however, no longer accepted it due to its appearance being so different. In the end it was always pecked to death in the belief that it is an alien, a hostile foreign element in their flock. On his gruelling journey the main character feels the same as this bird, for wherever he goes he always meets mainly with contempt and cruelty stemming from fear and prejudice. The film's hero is the ten year old Boy - THE PAINTED BIRD.
      1943. In the countryside somewhere in Eastern Europe a boy lives with his Aunt Martha. His daily life is evolving into something altogether drab, that is until Martha quite unexpectedly dies. The boy is suddenly orphaned. He must set off alone on a journey into the unknown towards his new fate. Thanks to his distinct differences, which is underscored by both his physical appearance, in particular his bewitching eyes, and his raven black hair and dark skin, he evokes fear in the superstitious villagers. Thus he cannot stay for long anywhere. Either of his own volition, or due to coercion, he has to travel from village to village, from place to place, sometimes literally fighting for his very life.
      In ten successive sequences loosely connected to one another, just as in the book, and over a period of two years, the story follows the Boy on his wanderings. Each sequence is always accompanied by another essential and completely different theme as well as a character - a person who brings a different understanding, hardship, love, prejudice or even hatred to the Boy's life. All of these people have an unforgettable and unmistakable influence on the boy. Thus, in each sequence the Boy is always quite fundamentally and differently confronted with a new experience, a new understanding and the need to make a decision. The experiences he takes on, but mainly the changes in the Boy's values, do indeed gradually manifest in his ever-increasing capabilities to survive physically, but, on the other hand, they are logically bought through the loss of what is most important in life. The ability to express empathy, love, sensitivity and humanity.
      So at first the Boy is taken in by Olga, who is highly appreciated by the villagers for her healing abilities, then he works as a slave for a cruel and jealous miller, he gets to know the reclusive and eccentric bird catcher Lech, he becomes a witness to the brutal death of his "wife" Ludmila, survives an encounter with the Germans in the form of the humanity displayed by a quite ordinary soldier Hans, a Catholic priest takes him into custody and tries to lead him on the path to belief and love in Jesus Christ, but after his death, caused by a serious illness, the Boy's newly acquired faith is fatally broken forever by the local parishioners. He
    • Partners & financing
    • Czech Television (Czech Republic)
      Eduard & Milada Kucera (Czech Republic)
      Directory Films (Ukraine)
      RTVS (Slovakia)
      Certicon (Czech Republic)
      innogy (Czech Republic)
      PubRes (Slovakia)
      Richard Kaucký (Czech Republic)

      Celluloid Dreams - Hengameh Panahi (France)

    • Production schedule
    • 2008 - 2010 / Licensing
      2010 - 2013 / Script writing + Development
      2013 - 2016 / Funding + Development
      2016 - 2017 / Preproduction
      2017 - 2018 / Principal photography
      2018 - 2019 / Postproduction
      2019 - September / World premiere
      2019 - Distribution
    • Beginning of shooting
    • Mar 13, 2017
    • End of shooting
    • Jul 04, 2018
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